Sir Steve Redgrave was “blown away” by the facilities at the mental health hub that he officially opened today in High Wycombe.

The South Bucks mental health hub is set up in the newly renovated Saffron House bringing together a number of meatal health teams from across Wycombe into one building.

This is a reaction to the increased demands of mental health services, especially among children and young people, in the area.

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Sir Steve hopes that the way mental health is viewed in today’s world will bring improvements in helping patients suffering from mental health problems.

Speaking to the Bucks Free Press he said: “A few generations ago the approach to mental health was very different.

“It seems to be a trendy word at the moment but the issues are the same as it was 20,30,40,50 if not 100 years ago.

“But back then it was locked behind closed doors and it was a subject you weren’t allowed to speak about.

“People are able to talk about it now so we are seeing more people coming for support and this is what this centre is all about.”

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Mental health is an issue that can touch anyone from all walks of life and Sir Steve was able to offer insight on the mental pressure athletes face from his experience of being the most decorated rower at the Olympics, having won gold medals at five different games.

He continued: “Especially in the UK now, overall our national teams have been performing better than they were and that has its added pressures.

“When I was rowing 21 years ago in my last regatta competing, we were still improving as a country in that sport so the next generation has to take that mantle so that can add a lot of pressure.

“If you are not performing you would like to be or expecting you to be then it does add more pressure."

“Sportspeople have issues, maybe in a slightly different way than other people, but everyone’s mental health needs to be addressed.”

Nick Broughton, chief executive of the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Mental health is incredibly important and I think we have seen that during the course of the pandemic but I think we were seeing that before the pandemic started too.

“We have seen an increase in the demands for mental health services, particularly children and young people’s mental health services.

“I think that is in part due to more awareness of mental health along with there being less stigma around it than there was 10 to 15 years ago so people are more people are willing to come and talk about their problems but we are playing catch up.

“We want to provide the best possible care we can to help them recover as quickly as possible.”

Bucks Free Press: Staff watch on as Sir Steve Redgrave opens the mental health hubStaff watch on as Sir Steve Redgrave opens the mental health hub

Yvonne Chapel-Mtunzi, deputy manager and approved mental health professional, added: "It was amazing to have Sir Steve Redgrave open up the South Bucks mental health hub.

"To have him come today and open the building today has been a real honour."

Saffron House has newly installed therapy rooms, interview rooms, hot-desking areas all built with patients and staff in mind.

The central location of the mental health hub was also important in its selection with it being based on Easton Street behind the High Wycombe train station accessible via London Road.

The building is also looking to improve its carbon footprint by installing new LED lighting, putting in a new bike shed and showers so people can cycle to work as well as designated electric car charging points are set to be installed soon.

Sir Steve finished by saying: “I have been blown away by the facilities here, I thought it was going to be good but it has exceeded my expectations.”